MIAMI, Florida – Motagua outlasted Comunicaciones 15-14 in an epic penalty shootout in the Preliminary Round of the 2020 Scotiabank Concacaf League on Thursday night at the Estadio Tiburcio Carias Andino in Tegucigalpa.
The Honduran club rallied from a 2-0 second half deficit against the Guatemalans to pull level 2-2 before things were decided in a penalty shootout that will long live in Concacaf lore.
A total of 36 penalty kicks were attempted before Motagua emerged with the win, thus punching their ticket to the Round of 16 where they will face Alianza of El Salvador on November 4. The penalty shootout was also the longest in the history of Concacaf club competition.
Motagua were keen to find an early goal and Walter Ramirez was mere inches from doing that with a right-footed shot that bounced off the post in the 16’.
Comunicaciones fended off the early charge from the hosts and countered with the game’s first goal in the 36’ through Andres Lezcano’s stinging header off a corner kick for a 1-0 lead.
The momentum stayed with Comunicaciones into the second half and Agustin Herrera put the two-time finalists on the ropes with a right-footed finish in the 49’ to extend the visitors’ lead to 2-0.
The Herrera goal woke up Motagua and just seven minutes later in the 55’ Matias Galvaliz halved the deficit to 2-1 with a right-footed finish.
It was now Motagua’s turn to dominate play and suddenly the teams were on level terms 2-2 thanks to a great strike from Kevin Lopez in the 60’.
The task for Comunicaciones became a lot tougher in the 63’ when DF Jose Pinto was sent off with his second yellow card of the night, handing a man advantage to the hosts for the final half-hour.
Despite playing a man down, Comunicaciones withstood the Motagua pressure the rest of the way to force a penalty shootout. In the end though, the night belonged to Motagua, who will continue their quest for a third straight SCL Final.